Pushed author Jennifer Block recently wrote a new blog about health care reform and why maternity care should be included in the reform work. In this recent piece she says "Over here, Mr. President" if you want to cut health care costs just look at maternity care. Block says:
"Childbirth, in fact, costs the United States more in hospital charges than any other health condition -- $86 billion in 2006, almost half paid for by taxpayers,"
And here's the worst part:
"Yet we have among the worst outcomes: high rates of preterm birth, infant mortality, and maternal mortality, with huge disparities by race."
On the BOLD blog, here is a great piece about Jennifers article:
It's a no-brainer that maternity care needs reform, but ironically as Block points out the women's health community has never fully embraced this cause. Why? One word: abortion. Reproductive rights advocates need ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gyns) on their side. You lose them and you could jeopardize women's access to abortions. This, Block asserts, is the reason reproductive rights advocates haven't been knocking doors down to complain that one in three women are c-sectioned in the United States, that mothers who had C-sections are being denied vaginal birth as an option in at least half of the hospitals in the US.Hearing all of this is painful and tragic.
And, women's health advocates aside, there's more worrying feedback mothers are getting about their maternity care. Block attended Childbirth Connection's symposium on maternity care and..."An executive from Geisinger Health System made a startling admission:
"There are many healthcare organizations across the country [that] have become, unfortunately, dependent upon NICU [Neonatal Intensive Care Unit] volumes to fund many of their other services."
In other words, our for-profit system not only rewards the overuse of intervention even if it leads to more sick babies; in some cases, it depends on it.
These are hard words to swallow, especially if you're pregnant today. But do not despair. BOLDness is out there! As Block points out, midwives are offering outstanding care for low risk mothers. And if 10 percent (instead of the current 1%) of the population in the US used midwives we'd save $9.1 billion in healthcare. It just makes CENTS!!!
To read Jennifer Block's full piece click here.